Tuesday, May 10, 2011

High-level political conflict in Iran

There is a serious political conflict going on at high levels in the Iranian government pitting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamene'i against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

This report from Aljazeera English was posted on YouTube 05/09/2011:

Farhang Jahanpour provides a very informative assessment of this situation in Informed Comment 05/08/2011. Farideh Farhi in Iran's Two Executives Play a Lose-Lose Game Inter Press Service 05/08/2011 gives this summary:

The current controversy was sparked April 17 when, in response to Ahmadinejad's sacking of Moslehi, Khamenei publicly released a letter in which he asked the just-dismissed spy chief to continue performing his duties. Thus overruled and publicly humiliated, Ahmadinejad expressed his displeasure by boycotting cabinet meetings for 11 days.

Under the Iranian Constitution, the president clearly has the right to dismiss his chosen ministers. Khamenei, however, justified his intervention by referring to the principle of maslehat, or the greater interest of the country, without bothering to explain how this interest had been violated by Moslehi's dismissal.

And Ali Gharib also cautions against neoconservative manipulation of the image of Iran's opposition Green Movement in Washington Failing to Understand Iran's Opposition Inter Press Service 04/26/2011:

The exiles and policy makers – among whom, [Nagmeh] Sohrabi [of Brandeis University] points out, are many who don't want a military solution to Iran's nuclear stand-off with the West – base their characterisation of the movement as "what they want it to be and don't take into account the reality on the ground." ...

Sohrabi proposed that Washington's discourse tended to be limiting instead of taking a broader approach: "There are multiple ideas of what the Green Movement is. We need to be more careful about what it is and what it isn't. That doesn't mean that it can't be all these things at the same time."

Hawkish pundits have also been among the chief cliques in Washington assigning their own motivations and aspirations to the Green Movement writ large.

For example, senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute Josh Block, promoting a new Iran task force he co-chairs, has displayed this tendency. Block, for most of the previous decade, served as the ubiquitous spokesperson for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an organising hub of the U.S. pro-Israel lobby that has consistently pushed for harsher economic measures against Iran.

Contrary to some neoconservative hawks like Reuel Marc Gerecht of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, Block acknowledged, in an interview with the Washington Post, that a threat of or an actual military attack on Iran could be damaging to the country's opposition.

But Block also told neoconservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, who supports attacking Iran and downplays the repercussions for the opposition, that he is certain what the opposition movement seeks: "It seems obvious the Iranian people want regime change. They voted that way in 2009." (Block did not respond to a query for clarification.)
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